Town of McCandless, PA
Allegheny County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
(a) 
This article shall be known and may be cited as "The McCandless Grading Ordinance".
(b) 
The purpose of this article is to provide minimum standards to safeguard persons and property, to protect and to promote the public welfare, by preventing excess erosion, hazardous rock and soil slippage, sediment production and other soil and water management problems, and by regulating and controlling the design, construction, quality of materials, use, location and maintenance of grading, excavation and fill.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973; Ord. 1127, passed 8-22-1994]
Wherever used in this article the following words shall have the meanings indicated:
ADMINISTRATOR
The person qualified and officially appointed by the governing body to manage this article.
BEDROCK
Natural rock layer, hard or soft, in place at ground surface or beneath unconsolidated surficial deposits.
ENGINEERING GEOLOGIST
A person who holds a degree in geology from an accredited college or university and who has training and experience in the field of engineering geology.
EROSION
The detachment and movement of soil or rock fragments by water, wind, ice or gravity, including such processes as gravitational creep.
EXCAVATION
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or any other similar material is cut into, dug, quarried, uncovered, removed, displaced, relocated or bulldozed and includes the conditions resulting therefrom.
FILL
Any act by which earth, sand, gravel, rock or any other material is deposited, placed, pushed, dumped, pulled, transported or moved to a new location and includes the condition resulting.
GOVERNING BODY
Council.
GRADING
Excavation of fill or any combination thereof and shall include the conditions resulting from any excavation or fill.
GRADING PERMIT
Any permit required under this article.
HAZARD
A danger or potential danger to life, limb or health, or an adverse effect or potentially adverse effect to the safety, use or stability of property, waterways, public ways, structures, utilities and storm sewers; "hazard" includes stream pollution.
PERSON
A natural person but shall also include a partnership, corporation, trust or association.
PROFESSIONAL
A person (engineer, surveyor or architect) licensed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
SITE
A lot, tract, parcel of land, or a series of lots, tracts or parcels of land which are adjoining where grading work is continuous and performed at the same time.
SLOPE
Any ground area having an inclination from the horizontal. Slopes are measured either in degrees from the horizontal or as the ratio of a horizontal distance to the vertical height (or drop) to the surface of the slope. Each change in inclination from horizontal in a cut or fill represents a different slope. The slope of a cut or fill is represented by the maximum slope of a cut or fill.
SOIL ENGINEER
A person registered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a professional engineer and who has training and experience in the branch of soils engineering.
SOIL SURVEY
The unpublished and operational soil survey for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania and the accompanying text "Soil Survey Interpretations of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania", as prepared by the USDA Soil Conservation Services et al. When applicable, "Soil Survey" means "Soil Survey, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania" when this publication is completed.
SOLID WASTE
All parts of combinations of ashes, garbage, refuse, radioactive material, combustible demolition materials and industrial wastes such as food-processing wastes, wood, plastic, metal scrap, etc.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973; Ord. 1167, passed 6-24-1996]
(a) 
A grading permit must be obtained from the Administrator for new grading, excavations and fills. Changes, additions or alterations made to existing excavation or fills shall conform to the provisions of this article. A separate grading permit shall be required for each site. One permit may cover the grading, excavation and any fills made on the same site.
(b) 
Only one permit is required for a continuous parcel to be graded for a proposed major planned development, such as residential planned unit development or a planned industrial park when adequate standards or requirements for grading the parcel are approved by the Administrator.
(c) 
When grading is to be performed for and executed concurrently with the construction of a new building, a separate grading plan will be required.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973; Ord. 1167, passed 6-24-1996]
A grading permit will not be required for any of the following situations:
(a) 
Grading limited to reasonable, regular, normal maintenance and landscaping improvements by individual homeowners, where standards in this article are not violated.
(b) 
Stockpiling of rock, sand and aggregate in area properly zoned for such use.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973; Ord. 1004, passed 3-27-1989; Ord. 1127, passed 8-22-1994]
(a) 
The maximum slope of cut shall not exceed 2:1 and the maximum slope for fill shall not exceed 3:1. Retaining walls and grading shall meet the following requirements:
(1) 
Any wall in excess of four feet above grade shall be designed by a registered engineer experienced in structural design and be constructed in compliance with the Building Code. A single, engineered retaining wall, not in excess of four feet, may be used in the cut or fill area.
(2) 
Where a wall is used at the toe of a cut or fill, a buffer area, measured from the base of the wall, shall be a minimum distance of twice the height of the wall. This buffer area shall not be used for placement of structures, parking, vehicular circulation, sales area, pedestrian traffic or for other uses which may endanger public safety if the wall should fall.
(3) 
Any wall in excess of five feet in height shall be protected with a six foot chain link fence.
(4) 
Cuts or fills in excess of 12 feet in height and within 30 feet of the property line shall include bufferyard D, Section 1314.04, at the top of a cut (or the bottom of a fill), whichever provides greater buffering to the adjacent property.
(5) 
Cuts or fills in excess of 30 feet in height shall include a six-foot chain link fence at the top of the slope.
(6) 
Where a cut or fill exceeds 15 feet in height, the top of cut or the toe of fill shall not be closer to the lot line than 20 feet.
(b) 
Adequate provisions shall be incorporated to prevent erosion due to storm drainage. All provisions shall be properly engineered and may be paved or planted swales and/or gutters and/or piped storm sewers. All of this shall be reviewed and subject to the approval of the Town Engineer.
(c) 
Existing storm drainage shall not be diverted to adjacent property owners.
(d) 
Adequate engineered provisions shall be incorporated to prevent sediment infiltration into existing streams.
(e) 
All fills shall be compacted to provide stability of fill materials and to prevent settlement of slippage.
(f) 
Immediately upon completion of grading, all areas not designated for building or paving shall be mulched and planted. Planting shall be appropriate to maintain slopes from erosion and subject to approval of the Town. In general, planting may be rye grass, crown vetch or honey-suckle.
(g) 
(Reserved)[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: This subsection was repealed 3-27-1989 by Ord. No. 1004.
(h) 
Any slope which exceeds 50 feet in vertical height shall be properly benched.
(i) 
In addition to the above, all fill and cut operations shall follow the "Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook" for Allegheny County.
(j) 
In the event that the cut and fill operation affects any natural watercourse under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources, Division of Dams and Encroachments, by change in direction, cut and fill along the banks, culverts or bridges, or construction adjacent to, the applicant must present with his application the permit and the letter of comments from the Department of Environmental Resources, Division of Dams and Encroachments.
(k) 
An exception may be requested to one or more requirements of these standards for grading when the location, shape or topography of the particular parcel of land is such that strict conformance to the requirements would cause undue hardship, serve no useful purpose, or be a detriment to the overall quality of the project. Such an exception shall not be contrary to the requirement or spirit of the Town's Comprehensive Plan. At least four, affirmative votes of Council shall be required for approval. Such request shall come before the Planning Commission, Zoning Committee of Council and voted on at a regular business meeting. The request for exception along with plans shall be submitted 30 days prior to the Planning Commission meeting at which the submittal will be discussed.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
(a) 
Every applicant for a grading permit shall file a written application with the Administrator on a prescribed form. The application shall:
(1) 
Describe the land, on which the proposed work is to be done by lot, block, tract or street address.
(2) 
Be accompanied by the plans and specifications prepared and sealed by a professional (engineer, surveyor, or architect) giving a reasonable picture of the site and proposed soil erosion controls, if any. The plans must be complete with north arrow, scale, distance to road intersections, adjacent structures, roads, utilities, waterways, existing contours, finished proposed contours (all contours minimum five-foot intervals). All necessary existing and finished spot elevations are required to show drainage details of all constructed measures to prevent soil erosion, and planting.
(b) 
The Administrator may waive the preparation of the plans by a professional when it is self-evident that the proposed work is simple, clearly shown on the plans submittal, and creates no potential nuisance or hazard to adjacent property.
(c) 
Plans and specifications above shall be submitted to Allegheny County Conservation District for approval before submission to the Administrator, and such approval must be submitted for permit when:
(1) 
Excavation or fill exceeds five feet in vertical depth, and results in a cut or fill slope steeper than four horizontal to one vertical, and exceeds an area of 1,000 square feet for areas recognized by the Allegheny County Soil Survey as containing landslide-prone soils.
(2) 
Excavation or fill exceeds 10 feet in vertical depth, and results in a cut or fill slope steeper than three horizontal to one vertical and exceeds an area of 5,000 square feet in area for areas not recognized by the Allegheny County Soil Survey as landslide-prone.
(3) 
In the event the applicant deems it necessary to exceed the slopes of cut and fill as recommended in the Soil Survey, or by the Allegheny County Conservation District, the applicant may do so only when the design is certified by a soils engineer or geologist. However, in no case shall the slopes be greater than specified in Section 1705.05(a).
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973; Ord. 1004, passed 3-27-1989]
(a) 
Whenever the governing body, upon the recommendation of it's Administrator, determines that any existing excavation, embankment or fill has become a hazard as defined in Section 1705.02, the owner of the property upon which the excavation, embankment or fill is located, or other persons or agent in control of the property, upon receipt of notice in writing from the Administrator shall, within the reasonable period specified therein, repair, reconstruct or remove such excavation, embankment or fill so as to eliminate the hazard.
(b) 
If, after such notification, the property owner has not made the necessary repairs within the time adopted, then the governing body may direct government employees to make the required repairs and the cost thereof shall be borne by the property owner by a lien filed as provided by law.
(c) 
Whenever the governing body, upon the recommendation of its Administrator, determines that any proposed excavation or fill may present a hazard as defined in Section 1705.02, the governing body reserves the right to require the applicant to have the proposed work certified by a soils engineer or geologist.
(d) 
The use of solid waste as fill material is prohibited.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
(a) 
Before issuance of a grading permit, the applicant shall post a bond Pennsylvania approved corporate surety, or other approved security in the amount of 10% of the estimated cost of the grading work and erosion control facilities proposed for the permit to guarantee the work and facilities in a satisfactory manner and meeting the requirements of this article. No bond shall be required if another bond or other approved security is posted for construction and/or site improvements. When all requirements of this permit have been met and the work has been completed in a satisfactory manner, the full amount of security shall be returned to the person posting the security.
(b) 
Alternate surety for construction of an individual residence, in lieu of the above may be as follows:
(1) 
Cash deposit in the amount of $75 for each residence, refundable upon compliance with this article, or the deposit may remain deposited with the Town to be applied to the next permit.
(2) 
Cash deposit or surety as outlined in subsection (a) hereof in the amount of $1,000, to remain in effect for grading all individual residences, for a one-year period.
[Ord. 1004, passed 3-27-1989]
Every grading permit shall expire by limitation and become null and void if the work authorized by such permit has not commenced within 180 days or it is not completed within one year from the date of issue, provided that the governing body, acting upon the recommendation of the Administrator, may, if the permit holder presents satisfactory evidence that unusual difficulties have prevented work being started or completed within the specified time limits, grant an extension of up to one year, and provided further, that the application for the extension of time is made before the date of expiration of the permit. Any physical changes in the site such as surface water drainage, soil and bedrock dislocations, alteration of groundwater discharge or any other natural or man-made modification which would cause a doubt to be cast upon the feasibility of the contents of the original permit approval, must be reported to the Administrator in the intervening period between approval of permit and completion of the project.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
(a) 
When the requirements of this article for obtaining a permit have been met, the Administrator shall approve the proposed plan and grant a grading permit to the applicant. Approved work may then start. However, when, in the opinion of the Administrator, work proposed by the applicant is likely to endanger any property or person, or any street or alley, or create hazardous conditions, the grading permit shall be denied. In determining whether the proposed work is likely to endanger property of streets or alleys, or create hazardous conditions, the Administrator shall give due consideration to: possible saturation by rains, earth movements, run-off surface waters and subsurface conditions such as the stratification and faulting of rock, acquifers, springs and the nature and type of the soil or rock.
(b) 
The governing body shall within 15 days consider appeals from the provisions of this article or from the denial by the Administrator, and the governing body within 15 days shall consider alternate methods, standards or materials proposed by the developer when, in his opinion, strict compliance with the provisions of this article is unnecessary. Any applicant or permit holder shall have the right to appeal to any court of competent jurisdiction from any decisions of the governing body.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
(a) 
The permittee or his agent shall notify the Administrator in writing of the start and completion of each continous grading operation. Notice shall be received by the Administrator or at his office at least two working days before start of completion of grading operations.
(b) 
Grading work at these stages or at any other time will be subject to spot inspections at the discretion of the Administrator to determine that the work is being performed in compliance with these regulations.
(c) 
In special cases, when grading occurs in areas of landslide-prone soil as recognized by the Soil Survey or better, the Administrator may require special precautions from the grader. The results of all soil tests and core borings made relating to the site graded shall be submitted to the Administrator.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
(a) 
The owner of any property on which an excavation or fill has been made shall maintain in good condition and repair the excavation or fill permitted, and also all retaining walls, cribbing, drainage structures, fences, ground cover and any other protective devices as may be a part of the permit requirements.
(b) 
If, at any time subsequent to the completion of the grading work, the cut face or fill slope shall evidence signs of deterioration, erosion or other evidence which might be detrimental to the properties above and below the grading site, Council, upon recommendation of the Administrator, may direct the property owner to take necessary remedial steps in accordance with sound engineering practice to restore the grading to a safe condition, and to do so in a reasonable period of time.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
Neither the issuance of a permit under the provisions of this article, nor the compliance with the provisions hereto or with any condition imposed by the Administrator hereunder, shall relieve any person from any responsibility for damage to persons or property resulting therefrom, or as otherwise imposed by law, nor impose any liability upon the Town for damages to persons or property.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
A fee in the amount of $5 per acre or each portion thereof, will be charged for each grading permit.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
In case any work is performed by any person in violation of any of the provisions of this article, the proper office of the Town, in addition to other remedies, may institute in the name of the Town any appropriate action or proceeding whether by legal process or otherwise, to prevent such unlawful work and to restrain or abate such violation.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
(a) 
No person shall construct, enlarge, alter, repair or maintain any grading, excavation or fill, or cause the same to be done contrary to or in violation of any provision of this article.
(b) 
When written notice of any violation of any provision of this article has been served by the Administrator on any person, such violation shall be discontinued immediately or within a reasonable time limit specified in such notice. If violation is not discontinued, or extends beyond the specified time limit, the Administrator shall revoke the grading permit and the violator shall be subject to the penalty provided in Section 1705.99.
[Ord. 625, passed 4-23-1973]
Any person violating any provision of this article shall be fined not more than $100 per day for each offense. Whenever such person has been notified by the Administrator by service of summons in a prosecution or in any other way that he is committing a violation of this article each day that he continues such violation after notification shall constitute a separate offense. Fines shall be collected as like fines or penalties are now by law collected.